June 4 was the eighteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. The massacre is a forbidden subject in China and the communist regime has taken very strict preventative measures over the years to try and erase this incident from Chinese minds and hearts.
But a mainland newspaper, the Chengdu Evening News, brought a lot of attention to the massacre by running a commemoration ad. According to the United Daily News report, The Sichuan Provincial Party Committee and the Chengdu City Party committee have sent officials to the newspaper office; the newspaper staff are under a full investigation.
Although it was only a one-sentence ad, “Salute to the mothers of the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989,” it has touched a particularly raw nerve in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
High Profile Newspaper
The Chengdu Evening News belongs to the newspaper group— Chengdu Daily, which is the official newspaper of the CCP's Chengdu Municipal Party Committee. So it does hold a position of influence. The ad appeared on the bottom right of page 14.
An Epoch Times reporter called the Chengdu Evening News, and one employee told the reporter that she knew about the ad “accident,” and upper level officials have been sent to the newspaper office to investigate it. However, as to whether the departments related to the placement of the ad will be punished, she said it was not convenient for her to reveal.
The reporter called the Chengdu Municipal Party Committee, and a staff member said that he was not clear about the event. He told the reporter to ask the Propaganda Department of the Municipal Committee, but staff at the propaganda department hung up the phone even before the reporter finished asking the question.
Who Processed the Ad?
A democratic activist in Sichuan Province explained why the ad could have been published, “Management of newspapers in China is very disorganized. Newspaper offices often divide up ad pages to ad agencies to sell space to others. The people who are responsible for this ad probably did not notice it or made a mistake.”
According to a media worker, before printing the paper, there are three editing procedures; so obviously, all these reviews missed the ad also. People must provide their ID to place an ad in the newspaper, but it is possible someone used a fake ID.
So far the Chengdu Evening News has been forced to stop printing one issue because of the ad, but no notice has been released regarding a punishment for any individual yet.